HOUSTON (AP) _ The number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the United States rose by 24 this week to 1,808.

Of the rigs running nationwide, 1,447 were exploring for natural gas and 350 for oil, Houston-based Baker Hughes Inc. reported Friday. Eleven were listed as miscellaneous.

A year ago, the rig count stood at 1,749.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Oklahoma gained eight rigs, Colorado six, Louisiana three and Texas and Wyoming each added two.

New Mexico lost three rigs, and Alaska and California were unchanged from the previous week.

Baker Hughes has tracked rig counts since 1944. The tally peaked at 4,530 in 1981, during the height of the oil boom. The industry posted several record lows in 1999, bottoming out at 488.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.